Took my sister's Accord in for service and talked to several of the personnel at the Honda dealer. They told me that the Honda SUV would fit only seat 5 and that the 7 person would be exclusive only with the MDX.
Also, at Starbucks the other day. I stepped out of the X and a man, who was drinking his Java, darted towards me and said he worked for Norm Reeves Honda and pointed to his car that had a Norm Reeves License frame. He asked if he could look at my MDX and judging by the look of his "significant other's" embarrasment, I assumed he was sincere and not just a weirdo.
He shook his head often and kept saying, "beautiful". To break the akwardness of a stranger of ogling my car, I asked if he new anything about Honda's version of the SUV. While wiping the drool from his chin, he said that production was probably going to be in Canada and though the Odyssey was moving to the new plant, MDX supply will be less than the demand since it will probably share the same facilities as the Honda SUV version. When I asked about seating seven, he also said that the 7 person seating would be exclusive to the MDX.
I am looking forward to seeing it in person. This photo from the back looks pretty much like the current Honda minivan! And seats eight! I will be interested to see how much different it really is from the minivan.
The word mentioned in the new is "up to 8 passengers." Does this mean 8 passenger is an option? For Odyssey, the last row can be folded down for more lugguage room. Can this design be adopted by Pilot? Will this Pilot be larger than MDX to accomodate 8 passengers? I am curious to see whether Honda need to increase the width to do this.
The press release said it will be shown at the Detroit Auto Show around the middle of January. It is expected to be ~6" longer and a bit wider, w/ a 6 cylinder and 4 wd standard. Volvo also has announced a 7 seat. SUV based on their S80 to be at the Auto Show for late summer production.
With the Honda Passport filling in the midlevel SUV's and the new Acura RD-X filling in the small SUV luxury market. It appears that the Pilot will fill in the gap between the Passport and the MDX. Honda has always used Acura for its high end luxury cars. I don't think that philosophy will change with the Pilot. I think Honda really wants to get out a mid to upper end SUV with room for 8. I expect it be a slightly larger and more expensive than the Passport. I doubt it will have the luxury features as standard equipment like the MDX. This is only speculation. After the auto show in early January, I'm sure much more info will be available.
The Honda Pilot will replace the passport which is simply a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo. Honda plans to have only 2 SUV's in it's lineup....the Honda CRV and the Pilot. I don't think MDX owners have anything to worry about....compare the Honda Accord v6 with the Acura 3.2tl same platform but higher engine output, better handling and more luxurious overall.